Any modern professional knows that LinkedIn provides a ton of opportunities for career and business advancement. It lets you connect with colleagues, gives you a platform to showcase your work, and makes you more visible online.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. LinkedIn is so much more than just a social network that can “put you out there”. When used correctly, the site can help you create better content, find great sources, and earn more money.
Below are some ways to use LinkedIn to do all that and more:
More clients = more revenue
LinkedIn offers a number of tools that you can use for both outbound and inbound marketing.
Let’s start with the former:
Use the advanced search to find companies
See that small rectangular search box at the top of your LinkedIn homepage? Use it to search for potential clients. Type in a keyword relevant to your industry, hit search, and the site will generate a list of companies related to your keyword. (Hint: If you have premium account you can narrow down your search according to company size, location, industry, etc.)
You can then use that list as a starting point for finding potential clients. Browse through it, check out the companies, and contact the ones that would be a good fit for your services.
Reach out to people who viewed your profile
One of the most valuable LinkedIn tips I ever got was to connect with people who viewed your profile. Since you’re reaching out to those who are already interested in you, convincing them to hear you out isn’t such an uphill battle.
Messaging people who viewed your profile is also a great way to impress clients. It shows that you’re proactive and since not a lot of people are doing it, you’ll certainly stand out.
Of course, this strategy wouldn’t be very effective if you don’t have people looking at your profile, so rack up those views by staying active on the site. Connect with people and join relevant groups. Where would your target audience hang out on LinkedIn? Find those groups and participate in their discussions.
Another way to stay visible is to post useful links on the site. Did you publish a new blog post? Find anything interesting on the web? Post away. Doing so puts you on the homepage of your contacts, thus increasing your visibility.
Great ideas and sources = better content
Writers constantly need to be on the lookout for fresh ideas. Fortunately, LinkedIn has a couple of handy features that let you find new and relevant content to draw inspiration from.
Use LinkedIn Pulse
LinkedIn Pulse lets you follow websites and influencers in your industry, stay up-to-date with the latest issues, and get an ear on what thought leaders are saying. It surfaces the best articles in your field, thereby helping you keep track of what’s going on so you can generate new ideas.
You can customize the feature by clicking the Pulse link under the “Interests” tab on the homepage, and then following relevant channels and influencers.
Join relevant LinkedIn groups
Remember when I told you about how joining relevant groups makes you more visible and helps you attract clients? Well, that same move can also be used for idea generation. Whenever you feel stumped on what to write about, swing by your groups and pay attention to what people are talking about.
What are the questions being asked? Which discussions have the most comments? The answers to these are good indicators of what your audience cares about, and you can use them to come up with article ideas and points.
Use the advanced search to find sources
LinkedIn search also comes in handy when you’re looking for sources. The process is similar to what we discussed above when searching for potential clients. Only, instead of companies, you’ll set your search for people.
Say you’re writing an article about Big Data, and you need to interview people knowledgeable about the topic. Just enter “data scientist” or the name of an analytics company, hit search, and LinkedIn will generate a list of individuals that match your criteria.
The great thing about this is that it helps you vet sources. Looking at a person’s recommendations, previous work experience, and expertise will allow you to qualify them and determine if they’re right for your article.
Have you ever used LinkedIn to find clients, sources, or ideas? Share your experience in the comments below.
Author Bio: Francesca Nicasio is the founder of CredibleCopywriting.net. She also helps aspiring freelance writers break into the biz at Be a Freelance Writer. Download her free eBook, 25 Types of Writing Gigs that Pay Well (and How to Find Them) here.